Laurie grew up in a Catholic family, attended Catholic schools, but was not involved much in parish, life during her professional career in public relations. After her first child was born, she began to get involved in parish, life: “For a while I was a Sunday Mass Catholic, but after children it became important to me to ‘walk the talk.'” After a family health issue became priority in her life, she left the for-profit business and began volunteering at her parish. In 2013, Laurie joined a new Bible study offered at her parish and that’s how her Walking With Purpose story begins. She served in a variety of leadership roles in her WWP parish program, and after witnessing the incredible impact the program had upon herself and the women of her WWP group, she reached out to Julie Ricciardi, WWP CEO, and offered her professional expertise as a WWP volunteer.
Since that time, Laurie has held positions in expansion, support, regional area coordinator team, and operations. Currently, as Director of Participant Experience, she leads the team of WWP regional area coordinators who mentor WWP parish leaders as well as the organization's customer support team, supports independent small group studies, and administers WWP events. The participant experience team supports nearly 400 parish programs and independent small groups that currently include 43,000 women in the US. Laurie reflected on her time with WWP: “As WWP grew from just the thirty or so parishes when I began to today, I was always open to help wherever needed, but my passion for our ministry is fostering connections between our volunteer leaders, our participants, and the WWP team. I love mentoring the participant experience team, improving interpersonal communications, and helping to resolve any conflicts."
Laurie sees great opportunity for continued growth in Walking with Purpose Bible studies in the virtual environment in the future, not only in parish groups but also through independent small group studies. She reasons, “Women are realizing that doing a WWP study virtually creates a wonderful opportunity to meet in authentic community, without judgment or comparison, to find "the more" that is missing from our modern culture, no matter where you live."
Finally, after reflecting about what working for Walking with Purpose means to her, Laurie shares, “I love to work every day with a group of women united by the same mission and finding joy in it. We look at our goals though the same lens; the gift of helping women to draw closer to Christ every day through our Bible studies."
Tierney was born into a Protestant family. When she was about seven years old, her parents had a calling for conversion into the Catholic faith. “I was raised in the Church, studied theology, and my life has been a steady walk with the Lord,” mentioned Tierney. Prior to joining Walking with Purpose, she worked mostly at for-profit organizations, mainly in insurance and operations. It was when her sister-in-law spoke with her about Walking with Purpose that Tierney was prompted to bring together her faith and work experience.
In 2017, Tierney joined the organization as an administrator, the same year she participated in her first WWP Bible study. “The Opening Your Heart Bible study was life changing for me. My small group had women from all walks of life and I learned different perspectives in areas that I could never have imagined. There is something new and life-giving for everyone,” she said. Since then, Tierney’s role has evolved with the automation of systems and implementation of Salesforce to help the organization become more streamlined.
Currently, Tierney manages accounts payable, accounts receivable, handles the financial aspect of donor relations and oversees the day to day transactional duties. “I love working behind the scenes. The people I work with make this environment incredibly special, as each employee brings into their work both their heart and their desire to see Jesus Christ touch women across the United States through Scripture. This transforms our work from operational to being the hands and feet of Christ,” she says. She believes Walking with Purpose will continue to grow. As she describes it, “In the three years that I’ve been here, the ministry has grown exponentially. The fact that we continue to seek where the Lord is directing us makes me trust that we are headed, down the right path.”
Having two young children at home aligns her work at WWP with her family’s plans. “Here, I am a whole person. The work demands a lot from us, and we have high expectations, but they respect my boundaries. Hearing from our Founder that outside of my working hours I should have my computer closed and pour into my vocation as a wife and mother is a powerful message about our work culture. We serve the Lord and each other best when He and our family are first,” says Tierney.
Laura was raised in a Methodist family and converted to Catholicism in college. After attending a Sunday Mass at a Catholic Church, she was truly impacted by the presence and sense of worship. “Why would I go anywhere else? This is His Church; it comes directly from the hands of Jesus," Laura mentioned. Her journey with Walking with Purpose began when her family had moved to a new state, and she gave birth to her second child. Her parish was starting their first Walking with Purpose Bible study, and her husband encouraged her to participate. “I was in the weeds of motherhood, no self-care, and the fact that when I arrived on my first day everyone knew my name and had a seat waiting for me, reached my heart in an incredibly deep way. Everything was very personal. They saw me in a time of my life that I felt unseen,” says Laura.
Laura joined the WWP National team in 2012, in the early days of our ministry, right after serving as a volunteer small group leader and parish program coordinator. She started her work in expansion, and soon after became a regional area coordinator. “As a regional area coordinator, I walk alongside women running a WWP parish program. I help by mentoring them and being there to support them in whatever they need in terms of running the program in their parish,” she tells. On top of that, Laura also contributes to the social media team and hosts virtual events called "The Art of Creating Community" that help women to discern starting a WWP program in their parish. “My favorite part of my work is creating relationships with servant leaders. These beautiful women fill my heart, and I pray for each of them."
After four children, Laura tells us about her perception of the ministry’s work life balance. “This is an organization of people who understand priorities and family. We strive for excellence in our work, but our priority is to live full lives that glorify the Lord. These are priorities that are encouraged and modeled from the top down.”
For the future, Laura believes Walking with Purpose is ready to reach the hearts of all women in the US, equipping them to develop a closer relationship with Christ. She says that her joy in her work is that “in my everyday job we are serving the Lord. We are building God's Kingdom here on earth and changing lives.”